Wednesday, 25 July 2012
(Interestingly, when I googled it, the British version of this ad came up - and, amazingly, it's frame for frame the same as the South African version. So someone, somewhere, thinks this concept works well enough to translate it exactly into another culture, and torture an entire other consumer market with it. In god's name, who pays that person's salary?!)
Sunday, 15 July 2012
I never answer my landline any more because it's almost always someone trying to sell me something I don't want and probably can't afford.* But for now-redundant reasons, I have a second phone, which is connected to my ADSL line. I actually had four phones operating off two separate lines at one (pre-cellphone) stage - a guard against Telkom's near-legendary incompetence, when I always needed a working line to be able to get work through on deadline.
So on Friday, in a moment of dizziness, when the second phone rang, I answered it. The woman on the other end told me, in a very heavy Indian accent, that her name was Jaycee, and she was phoning on behalf of Win Solutions, and that they'd received several error messages about 'junk files' in my computer, and could I take a few minutes to go through a series of steps with her to clear these?
Several very loud warning bells went off. First, Jaycee's thick Indian accent on its own didn't worry me unduly, but her accent combined with a distinct delay on the line did; and, second, Jaycee seemed to have a disturbing lack of technical knowledge about how a computer actually works. 'I'm busy at the moment,' I said. 'Give me your number and I'll call you back.' She was clearly not thrilled with this idea, but finally - reluctantly and slowly, and obviously reading from something - gave me the number 021 813 9719.
I used my non-ADSL landline to call the number. As I expected, the ringtone was unusual, and I heard the call being rerouted. Another woman, also with a heavy Indian accent, answered. When I asked to speak to Jaycee, she asked me for my name and number, and said Jaycee would call me back. I gave her my name and cellphone number. About 10 seconds later, Jaycee called me back - on my ADSL line.
'Look, I'm really busy at the moment,' I said, 'but I'll write down the steps you give me, and go through them a bit later to clear my computer of the junk files.'
By this time Jaycee had had just about enough of me and my unwillingness to allow her to schnaffle all my passwords and confidential personal details, steal my identity and rob me blind. 'We don't work like that,' she told me snippily.
'What's your company's website address?' I asked.
There was a telling pause before Jaycee said, 'Just google ''pc care experts'' and you'll find us. In the meantime, press ''control'' and the Windows button at the same time, and--'
While pretending to do this (poor Jaycee! she must have been thrilled at the prospect of duping yet another stupid consumer), I did google 'pc care experts' and - surprise! - found their account had been suspended.
'Sorry, Jaycee, I'm just too busy to do this right now,' I said. 'I'll get back to you when I've got some time.'
Jaycee wasn't happy at all. 'If your computer crashes, it'll be your own fault,' she growled, before disconnecting.
I belong to a big online newsgroup, and I immediately put out a warning to its hundreds of members. A colleague, Georgina, hit the nail on the head when she responded, 'I would never fall for this kind of scam, but I know my parents-in-law probably would.' This is what's so insidious about these things: for every 10 people who know they're being scammed, at least one won't, and will unknowingly allow thieves remote access to their computers and everything in them.
* Spammers are currently have a field-day with my landline and cellphone, and the only reason I can find for this is the large loan I recently took out with Toyota Financial Services (underwritten by FNB). I filled in the usual kajillion forms, and declined to put my email address on any of them for the specific reason that I didn't want my inbox to be inundated with spam. I did, however, provide both my landline and cellphone numbers, and for the last two weeks have received up to 10 unsolicited sales calls a day on each. It makes me never want to buy anything ever again.
|After - a new sitting space with a real sofa and comfy chairs.|
|Before - small and cramped.|
|A much bigger space for the dining table.|
For some reason I couldn't at first work out, the new little sitting room has a 'London' feel - then I realised it's because the window looks directly onto the street. Paul confirmed this - his first impression, he said, was that it felt 'European'. (Thanks to Paul and Terry for so enthusiastically helping me roof-wet the new space - and to Terry's clock for informing us that it was well past 4am when we began to think of calling it a night!)
|Another cracker gift from Terry - |
a replica station clock.
|Bedroom after (with new window).|
|Spare room before.|
Friday, 6 July 2012
loved this post (thanks, Jenny, for forwarding it) about the demise of Joburg’s
- Vroetel: another fantastic Afrikaans word, and so much nicer than the coy and cringe-inducing ‘heavy petting’.
long ago given up complaining about my bank – or any bank. They’re all as bad
as each other. Regardless of their adspeak, they’re in it to make money, and
that’s the bottom line.
Thursday, 5 July 2012
As we slope into the fourth week of my latest home-improvement project, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be able to reclaim my space. The joy of discovering that under the ghastly wall-to-wall carpets were original Oregon pine floors in such good condition that all they required to make them studendous was a light sanding and a couple of coats of sealant was considerably cooled this morning when I woke to near-zero temperatures in a house where the simple act of walking to the bathroom requires stepping over several piles of stuff. And, of course, because there's paint drying practically everywhere, doors and windows must stay open - which makes for a Very Chilly indoor environment.
I took these pictures this morning.
Posted by Tracey at Thursday, July 05, 2012
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
you know that Charles Darwin visited the western Cape during his Beagle voyage
and wrote quite extensively about our ‘botany, zoology, geography, environmental
aesthetics, economy, urban planning and transportation systems’? I didn’t, and
thanks to Ryno for providing this information, from the November/December 2009
South African Journal of Science.